ANC Consultants in the Midwest and East conducted a survey between April 2012 and April 2013 involving over 100 farmers, operating various sizes of farms. We used the survey as a tool to better understand our customers and prospective customers, and to evaluate ways we can help them improve their farm.
The results we found were very interesting and a reflection of what farmers went through in the 2012 crop season of high feed costs and low milk prices. It gave us a better understanding to what farmers were experiencing that year. Looking through the survey results below, you can see farmers listed high feed cost as the #1 challenge they will they will face in the future. Read the results from the survey below and then check out this article from Dr. Scott Bascom: Hope in the Midst of Increasing Feed Costs.
The survey consisted of four basic questions:
- What do you feel your farm does exceptionally well?
- What two items would you like to see improved on your farm?
- What do you see as the biggest challenge that farmers will face in the next two years?
- What are your expectations from your nutritional consultant?
The demographics of the respondents are as follows:
Respondents listed answers they felt accurately described their current situation. Many unique answers were given, but listed below are the top answers for each question.
1. What do you feel your farm does exceptionally well?
Crops/forages – 17 (number of times listed)
Genetics/breeding – 13
Milk production – 11
Somatic cell count – 10
Animal husbandry – 10
Calves/calf management – 9
Other top answers included employee management, reproduction, cow comfort, components, good stewards of the land, and money management.
2. What two items would you like to see improved on your farm?
Milk production – 21 (number of times listed)
Better breeding and reproduction – 19
Cow comfort – 18
Manure storage and systems – 11
Larger/new freestall barns – 8
Other top answers included calf housing, dry cow housing, feed storage, profitability, stable milk price, new parlor, better crop yields, hoof care, and reliable labor.
3. What do you see as the biggest challenge that farmers will face in the next two years?
High feed cost – 39
Milk prices – 33
Government involvement/regulation – 22
Rising costs of inputs – 20
Image of agriculture – 8
Other top answers included finances, manure management, weather, hard times for small farms, and transferring to the next generation.
4. What are your expectations from your nutritional consultant?
Providing workable, balanced rations – 12
Improve production – 10
Keep up with changes in the industry – 9
Take samples regularly – 8
Provide rations that increase production and keep cows healthy – 8
Cost-effective rations – 8
Other top answers included commitment to the farm, maintaining cow health, making use of what the farm has available, and rations done in a timely manner.
How would you answer these questions? Would you agree with the answers given for question #3? Feel free to comment with your thoughts.
If you would like more information on the study, please contact Connie Eibergen.